Timothy R T Bewes Professor of English

Before beginning at Brown in 2004, Timothy Bewes held teaching and research positions at University of Sussex, the University of North London, Liverpool John Moores University, Brandeis, and, as a visiting professor, at Brown. He held a post-doctoral fellowship at the Pembroke Center at Brown in 2003-04. He is the author of Cynicism and Postmodernity (Verso 1997); Reification, or The Anxiety of Late Capitalism (Verso 2002); and The Event of Postcolonial Shame (Princeton UP, 2011). He has also edited several collections of essays, including Jacques Rancière and the Novel (Duke UP, 2014), The Contemporary Novel: Imagining the Twenty-First Century (Duke UP, 2012), Georg Lukács: The Fundamental Dissonance of Existence (Aesthetics, Politics, Literature) Continuum, 2011, with Timothy Hall), Cultural Capitalism (Lawrence and Wishart 2001, with Jeremy Gilbert), as well as a special issue of New Formations titled After Fanon (2002). His articles have appeared in such journals as New Left Review, New Literary History, Textual Practice, Contemporary Literature, Parallax, Genre, Differences, Twentieth Century Literature and Cultural Critique. He has served on the editorial board of the journal New Formations since 1998, and as an editor of Novel since 2005.

Brown Affiliations

Research Areas

scholarly work

“Ultimate Dialogicality,” Mediations: Journal of the Marxist Literary Group, Vol. 28, No. 2 (Spring 2015), pp. 19-28.

“Reificação, Representação e Instanciação: Georg Lukács Contra Seus Intérpretes” (in Portuguese), trans. Aline Zouvi, Remate de Males: Revista de Teoria e História Literária 35.1 (2015), pp. 13-27.

“To Think Without Abstraction: On the Problem of Standpoint in Cultural Criticism,” Textual Practice, Vol. 28, no. 7 (December 2014), pp. 1199-1220.

Jacques Rancière and the Novel (special issue, edited), Novel: A Forum on Fiction Vol. 47 no. 2 (Summer 2014).

“Introduction: Jacques Rancière and the Novel,” Novel: A Forum on Fiction Vol. 47 no. 2 (Summer 2014), pp. 187-195.

“Against Exemplarity: W. G. Sebald and the Problem of Connection,” Contemporary Literature Vol. 55 no. 1 (Spring 2014), pp. 1-31.

“Capitalism and Reification: The Logic of the Instance,” in Alison Shonkwiler and Leigh Claire La Berge (eds), Reading Capitalist Realism, Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2014.

Krug spinovanja: Istina i privid u politici (Bosnian translation of "The Spin Cycle: Truth and Appearance in Politics"), Mediacentar Online, Sarajevo (http://www.media.ba/bs/magazin-etika/krug-spinovanja-istina-i-privid-u-politici), March 12, 2014.

“Shame, Race, Colonialism” (contribution to a review forum on The Event of Postcolonial Shame), Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies Vol. 15, no. 1 (March 2013), pp. 145-148.

The Contemporary Novel: Imagining the Twenty-First Century (special issue, edited), Novel: A Forum on Fiction Vol. 45 no. 2 (Summer 2012).

“Temporalizing the Present,” The Contemporary Novel: Imagining the Twenty-First Century, special issue of Novel: A Forum on Fiction Vol. 45, No. 2 (Summer 2012), pp. 159-164.

“The Novel Problematic,” Novel: A Forum on Fiction Vol. 44, no. 1 (Spring 2011), pp. 17-19.

The Event of Postcolonial Shame, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2011.

Georg Lukács: The Fundamental Dissonance of Existence (Aesthetics, Politics, Literature) (edited with Timothy Hall), London: Continuum, 2011.

"Introduction: Fundamental Dissonance," co-authored with Timothy Hall, in Timothy Bewes and Timothy Hall (eds), Georg Lukács: The Fundamental Dissonance of Existence (Aesthetics, Politics, Literature), London: Continuum, 2011, pp. 1-13.

"How to Escape from Literature? Lukács, Cinema, and The Theory of the Novel," in Timothy Bewes and Timothy Hall (eds), Georg Lukács: The Fundamental Dissonance of Existence (Aesthetics, Politics, Literature), London: Continuum, 2011, pp. 36-48.

"The Call to Intimacy and the Shame Effect," differences Vol. 22, No. 1 (Spring 2011), pp. 1-16.

Jean-Philippe Toussaint, "Zidane's Melancholy" (translated with Thangam Ravindranathan), in Aleksandar Hemon (ed.), Best European Fiction 2010, Champaign and London: Dalkey Archive Press, 2010, pp. 34-38.

"Reading with the Grain: A New World in Literary Criticism," differences Vol. 21, No. 3 (Fall 2010), pp. 1-33.

"The Unframed: Kazuo Ishiguro," in Ertuğrul İşler, et al. (eds), Batı Edebiyatında Kahraman (Hero in Western Literature), Denizli, Turkey: Pamukkale Üniversitesi Yayınları, 2010, pp. 1-12.

"'Another Perspective on the World': Shame and Subtraction in Louis Malle's L'Inde fantôme," in Simone Bignall and Paul Patton (eds), Deleuze and the Postcolonial, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2010.

"The Literary Event: Between Destiny and Necessity," revue Imaginaires nº 13 (2009) (Journal of the Centre Imaginaire de Recherches Anglaise, Université de Reims Champagne-Ardenne).

犬儒主义与后现代性 (translation by Hu Jihua of Cynicism and Postmodernity), Shanghai: People's Publishing (Humanities Century series), 2008.

Şeyleşme Geç Kapitalizmde Endişe (translation by Deniz Soysal of Reification, or the Anxiety of Late Capitalism), Istanbul: Metis, 2008.

"Against the Ontology of the Present: Paul Auster's Cinematographic Fictions," Twentieth Century Literature Vol. 53, No. 3 (Fall 2007), pp. 273-297.

"'Form Resists Him': The Event of Zidane's Melancholy," New Formations 62 (Autumn 2007), pp. 18-21.

Editorial Note, Ishiguro's Unknown Communities, special issue of Novel: A Forum on Fiction Vol. 40, no. 3 (Summer 2007), pp. 205-6.

Jean-Philippe Toussaint, "Zidane's Melancholy" (translated with Thangam Ravindranathan), New Formations 62 (Autumn 2007), pp. 12-14.

"Paul Auster's Cinematographic Fictions: Against the Ontology of the Present," New Formations 58 (Spring 2006), pp. 81-98.

"Shame, Ventriloquy, and the Problem of the Cliché in Caryl Phillips," Cultural Critique 63 (Spring 2006), pp. 33-60 (http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/cul/summary/v063/63.1bewes.html).

"Karl Marx," in David Scott Kastan (ed.), Oxford Encyclopedia of British Literature (Vol. III), New York: Oxford University Press, 2006, pp. 416-23.

"Late Style in Naipaul: Adorno's Aesthetics and the Postcolonial Novel," in David Cunningham and Nigel Mapp (eds), Adorno and Literature, London and New York: Continuum, 2006, pp. 171-187.

"What is a Literary Landscape? Immanence and the Ethics of Form," differences Vol. 16, No. 1 (Spring 2005), pp. 63-102 (http://differences.dukejournals.org/cgi/reprint/16/1/63.pdf).

"The Novel as an Absence: Lukács and the Event of Postmodern Fiction," Novel: A Forum on Fiction Vol. 38, No. 1 (Fall 2004), pp. 5-20.

"From the Shameful Order of Virility: Autobiography after Colonialism," Genre: Forms of Discourse and Culture Vol. XXXVII, Nos. 3/4 (Fall/Winter 2004), pp. 461-82.

"'At the level of individuals, violence is a cleansing force': Frantz Fanon, Internationalism and Terror," New Formations 47 (Summer 2002), pp. 21-24.

"Symposium on the Life and Work of Frantz Fanon," Roundtable Discussion (co-authored with Vikki Bell, Azzedine Haddour, Neil Lazarus, Kwadwo Osei-Nyame Jnr, Benita Parry), New Formations 47 (Summer 2002), pp. 46-65.

After Fanon (edited with Laura Chrisman and Scott McCracken), special issue of New Formations (issue 47, Summer 2002).

Reification, or The Anxiety of Late Capitalism, London: Verso, 2002.

"God Bless America: Just What Is It That Makes The Big Country So Different, So Appealing?" Pop #03 (Autumn-Winter 2001), pp. 148-150.

"Vulgar Marxism: The Spectre Haunting Specters of Marx," Parallax 20, Vol. 7, No. 3 (July-September 2001), pp. 83-95.

"Squeamishness and Scholarly Rigour: A Reply to Luisa Passerini," New Left Review II/1 (January-February 2000), pp. 145-8.

"What is 'Philosophical Honesty' in Postmodern Literature?" New Literary History 31/3 (Summer 2000), pp. 421-34.

"Truth and Appearance in Politics: The Mythology of Spin," in Timothy Bewes and Jeremy Gilbert (eds), Cultural Capitalism, London: Lawrence and Wishart, 2000, pp. 158-176.

"Cultural Politics/Political Culture," in Timothy Bewes and Jeremy Gilbert (eds), Cultural Capitalism: Politics After New Labour, London: Lawrence and Wishart, 2000, pp. 20-39.

Cultural Capitalism: Politics After New Labour (edited with Jeremy Gilbert), London: Lawrence and Wishart, 2000.

"The Spin Cycle: Truth and Appearance in Politics," Balancing Acts: Towards a Critical Politics, Signs of the Times online discussion paper (http://www.signsofthetimes. org.uk/pamphlet1/The%20Spin%20Cycle.html), August 1999.

"Europa and Utopia: How Cultural History Deals with the Paradox of Modernity," New Left Review I/236 (July-August 1999), pp. 103-16.

"Who Cares Who Wins? Post-Modernisation and the Radicalism of Indifference," in Anne Coddington and Mark Perryman (eds), The Moderniser's Dilemma: Radical Politics in the Age of Blair, London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1998, pp. 192-212.

"The Concept of Sleaze," New Formations 32 (Autumn-Winter 1997), pp. 159-73.

Cynicism and Postmodernity, London: Verso, 1997.

research overview

I have research interests in contemporary British/American fiction, aesthetic theory, poststructuralist and Marxist literary theory, postmodernism and postcolonialism, and the politics and ethics of literary form.

research statement

Over the past few years, my writing and research have turned away from questions focused on the "politics of literature," and have begun instead to address the categories that are presupposed in that relation: not only "politics" and "literature" themselves (and closely-related categories such as "ethics" and "aesthetics"), but more basic concepts such as the contemporary, perception, subjectivity, the event, the frame, materiality, the body, and reading. I have published a number of articles dealing with these terms, as well as with theorists working at the intersection of the philosophy of literature, literary criticism and aesthetics, including Georg Lukács, Theodor Adorno, Alain Badiou, Gilles Deleuze, Jacques Rancière, and writers such as Paul Auster, Flannery O'Connor, Dennis Cooper, Kazuo Ishiguro, W. G. Sebald and Jean-Philippe Toussaint.

My current larger project attempts to extend and consolidate these readings into a theoretical analysis of the contemporary novel. In response to recent developments in the practice of fiction and criticism, this project will make use of an emergent set of terms and concepts in order to approach the formal preoccupations of the contemporary novel. Drawing on earlier studies such as Mikhail Bakhtin's Problems of Dostoevsky's Poetics and Lukács's Theory of the Novel, this project will attempt to re-conceptualize the novel not as a form, but as a logic and a mode of thought, predicated upon a discrepancy between, in Lukács's words, "the conventionality of the objective world and the interiority of the subjective one." The most important implication of this re-conceptualization is the displacement of the category of representation by that of the event or ontology of the work. A number of questions are thereby brought into play as the proper concern of literary studies: What takes place in the work of fiction? Who or what speaks in the work? Is it possible to think of the materiality of the work separately from its "ideational" qualities? What does it mean to "read" the text? Such questions have always been present in literary studies, but they attain a new urgency and centrality in contemporary literary and critical practice, where the very boundaries of the work are being re-negotiated, and a new relation between criticism and writing forged, one of complicity rather than tension or antagonism.